Brindisi calls for VA secretary to resign amid report


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Anthony J. Brindisi, D-22, Utica, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, is calling on Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to resign.

Following what Brindisi calls a “damning inspection general report alleging abuse of power and stonewalling of an investigation,” the Utica Democrat said he was joining with the leadership of several national veterans service organizations in calling for Wilkie’s resignation.

“Secretary Wilkie has lost the trust of veterans and the Inspector General’s report outlines negligence and abuse of power by the Washington bureaucrats running the VA,” Brindisi said. “Our veterans deserve a competent, truthful, and honorable VA and Secretary Wilkie can no longer deliver that.”

The Inspector General’s report details an investigation into the VA’s handling of a sexual harassment case. According to the report, the VA, and Secretary Wilkie, impeded the investigation. 

According to the report, “This report details the statements and conduct of senior VA leaders that appear to undermine VA’s stated goals of providing a safe and welcoming environment for all veterans and to treat complainants of sexual assault with respect. VA leaders failed to make meaningful efforts to determine what corrective measures may be needed in response to the sexual assault complaint, while engaging the media to focus on the complainant. Together with statements made by Secretary Wilkie and other leaders, this approach points to a lack of genuine commitment by senior leaders to address the serious issues raised by the veteran’s complaint.”

Representatives of the national offices of several veterans organizations, including the American Legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) have also called for Wilkie’s resignation.

The Department of Veterans Affairs responded to calls by Brindisi and other Democratic lawmakers seeking his resignation with the following statement: “Secretary Wilkie has led VA to achieve landmark improvements in Veterans’ trust, quality of care and employee satisfaction. He will continue to lead the department, including its historic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Before confirmation as VA secretary in July 2018, Wilkie served as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness—the principal adviser to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense for total force management as it relates to readiness, National Guard and Reserve component affairs, health affairs, training, and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and the quality of life for military families.


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